precision metal stampers, roll formers and fabricators are
capitalizing on pockets of strength in the industrial economy
and searching for new growth opportunities as they gaze into
"We beefed up our
sales staff, so we are getting a lot of new work. We do some
automotive and thats doing well. We do a lot of utility
scale solar (energy systems), and its the fastest-growing
segment for us," Steve Peplin, chief executive officer of
Cleveland-based Talan Products Inc., told AMM.
"Its an erratic but demanding market."
president of Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based Zierick Manufacturing
Corp., agreed that inconsistency prevails. "We are seeing a
mixture. Orders are all over the placetwo good days,
three bad days," she said.
"Our biggest customers
are contract manufacturersbuilding systems for
everybody," Zierick said, so it is difficult to determine where
each batch of copper parts the company produces goes. However,
"lighting is going strong. All the (light-emitting diode)
lighting manufacturers are buying our parts."
from tail lights to display cases to street lights. "We have a
relatively new product and we cannot keep up with demand," she
Although a slowly
rising housing market has created some pull for appliances, the
falling cost of energy means fewer consumers are replacing
units with more energy-efficient models.
She expects customer
orders will rise between 1 and 3 percent in the first quarter
compared with a year earlier.
"That is going well
and will continue to grow next year. I dont have an order
backlog that guarantees a better year, but we are optimistic
due to 2013 business activity," according to Robert Hurst,
president of Bamberg, S.C.-based Phoenix Specialty
Manufacturing Co., which serves commercial aerospace parts
Like the others, he
said order rates in the industry are irregular. "The days of
getting releases out two to three months in advance are gone.
We are all expected to respond to any pattern whatsoever. I see
customers grind to a halt, and two months later pick right back
up," he said.
The modus operandi
among consuming industries might have changed, metalformers
said, but they are adapting quickly.
Reshoring, while an
overall benefit to U.S. manufacturers and their domestic supply
base, has raised some cost challenges in the year ahead (
, Dec. 24).